A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL.
No one knew a woman lived there or that she even existed. A monster, living in darkness…
At twenty-six, Nicole doesn’t even look human anymore. The beast made sure of that. So she hides. A monster consigned to a life of fear and solitude. This is all she deserves, she is quite sure of that.
And then one day out of the blue, the autographed baseball caught by Brian Jensen at the latest Marlins game enters her prison and manages to turn her world completely upside down.
Temptation comes in the form of pity at first, and then perhaps something more.
Does she dare to believe the things she’s told, that this is not the life she was meant to live? That being a monster is not her forever-fate? And will she be willing to risk everything, to reach out and accept the helping hands around her? She knows only too well that hands can hurt. Finding out whether they can also heal is a risky proposition, especially when the beast is still out there. Looking for her.
**This story was inspired by true events. If you liked the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy”, then you might like this story too. CONTENT WARNING: Violence, foul language, and adult situations. Intended for mature readers 17+**
Don’t Make Me Beautiful Book Review
This book is scary. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s scary because it is such a real and normal part of what occurs in society, so frequently, that people turn a blind eye to just how awful some people have it. Domestic abuse/abuse is a very serious and very real problem for men, women and children in our society. This book sheds light on a brutal but harsh reality for some. This book took a toll on me emotionally since I have worked closely with people who have had similar experiences. Reading this book brought a lot of memories to the surface. Some harsh realities and even a sense of pride in those who fight back, rebuild and reclaim their lives. For some that never comes but for those who get there it is a monumental achievement. I was an advocate for survivors such as Nicole so I was able to read this book free of judgment, something that doesn’t come easy for most. Experiences like Nicole were more extreme than most but there are so many that deal with abuse like this. It’s not as simple as it looks to leave and it is usually something that someone has experienced over the course of many years which allows them to continue on as though this were life. Abuse of this magnitude is not easy to endure. Oftentimes people are too quick to judge without knowing the entire story so when I read this book. I sincerely read it. I looked past the preconceived notions and threw out the judgment and read the story of a woman who was badly broken but tried to survive.
For many people, it’s hard to understand the reasons why someone would remain in an abusive environment/household. The problem is, most times these survivors are doing exactly that – trying to survive. In many ways Nicole was a survivor, she had a lot of bad things happen to her at a young age. She was nineteen when she met John and he promised her the world. He tore her down and programmed her to think in a manner that suited him. He kept her prisoner and made her believe herself so ugly and worthless that no one would care if she lived or died. The mentality of the abuser is always one of control. John wanted control and he only wanted to possess Nicole as an object, he never wanted to love her or be loved. People like John are incapable of such emotions. It’s about power and control, not love.
I really fell in love with this book. The author states it was inspired by a true story and the fact is, this happens all too often and not enough people are voicing these problems. She took something that I see as controversial and heart wrenching and found the beauty in the beast. I loved that she was able to paint a vivid and scary world yet fill it with beauty and love. It is inspiring.
So, what can I say about the book….a whole hell of a lot as I’ve made clear (see above ^ lol)
Nicole (aka Briana – you’ll need to read to learn why…hehe…I know I’m evil) has been brutalized beaten and turned into a monster. She’s permanently disfigured from years of being battered by her boyfriend John. When a baseball goes through her window and a little boy named Liam comes to reclaim it, Nicole has no idea her life is about to change. Brian, Liam’s father is a stand up man. He has integrity and teaches his son the same. When his son’s baseball crashes through the neighbor’s window, Liam is marched over to apologize while Brian, his father offers to pay. John, Nicole’s boyfriend pretends that it’s no big deal but inside he’s fuming. When the two leave, John beats Nicole senseless that night…Brian feels something is off with John and returns to John’s home in hopes of speaking with the elusive “wife.” He gets more than he bargained for and Nicole gets the break of her life…but can someone like Brian ever love someone as deformed as Nicole? Can he look past the outer appearance and see what’s inside?
The best part of this book for me is the valuable lessons it teaches the reader. Beauty truly is skin deep and someone who loves you…truly loves you will be able to look past any outward flaws and see into your heart…completely. Brian is a solid human being. He is a living, breathing example of how all humans should strive to be. He is a man of integrity and while Nicole can’t believe the reality of her situation since he entered her life, this is what and whom she truly deserves. Brian vows to do all he can to protect her and help her get her life back from the vile creature that stole it. The only problem is, will she let him?
The abuse/violence in this book is awful but it is equally beautiful in it’s romance. Brian, Nicole, Liam, Agnes and even Helen were all lovable characters. Each plays a key role in Nicole’s healing process. I highly recommend this book – especially for women. I think it is important for everyone to understand how bad it can get and how easily someone (man/woman/child) can fall prey. I give this book 5 resounding stars for it’s power and honesty. It had me hooked from start to finish!
*This book was an ARC provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments are my own.*
New York Times Best-Selling author Elle Casey is an American girl living in southern France with her husband, three children, and several furry creatures. She writes in a variety of genre including YA Fantasy, YA Action/Adventure, New Adult Romance, and Adult Contemporary Romance. She’s a little on the wild side, usually busy making people laugh, and always in the mood for adventure. There’s not much in this world that she loves more than reader interaction, so feel free to drop her a line.